If you’ve ever spent serious time bodybuilding, you know that one of the keys to unlocking your potential lies with testosterone. Testosterone revs up protein synthesis, helping you build greater lean muscle tissue, reach higher levels of performance, and increase your physical endurance. As an added bonus, it also boosts your libido and puts a kick back into your sex life.
However, researchers agree that the only way to see these benefits from testosterone is through free testosterone. Generally, free testosterone should comprise about 1.5 to 2.5 percent of your total testosterone if you wish to start using the male sex hormone as a bodybuilding aid.
But what exactly is free testosterone, and what should you be taking to increase it?
What Is Free Testosterone?
You may not know this, but testosterone produced in the testes and pituitary gland is rarely wholly testosterone. Instead, it is quickly bound to other chemicals, like albumin or globulin. These other chemicals ensure that testosterone is used for a specific purpose and as such, it is not bioavailable—or ready for use in other areas.
Free testosterone, by contrast, is not bound to any other chemical, leaving it able to flow to your muscles and increase your strength, endurance, and overall physical wellbeing.
To ensure that the testosterone you produce is free, there are a few things you can do.
Try a Testosterone Supplement
Obviously, the most direct route to greater levels of testosterone is using a product specifically designed to stimulate the testes and pituitary gland. Not all testosterone supplements are equal, however, so it’s important to do your research.
In order to ensure that your testosterone supplement of choice is able to not only raise testosterone, but increase your levels of free testosterone, you need to check the nutrition label. Certain ingredients are able to inhibit globulin and albumin production, ensuring that testosterone is able to flow throughout your bloodstream and reach your muscles.
Some of these plants and herbal extracts included in the best supplements include nettle, magnesium, and fenugreek, which is sometimes listed as Testofen. One product that contains some of these ingredients is Syntheroid. You find out more about Syntheroid and other testosterone boosters by finding fair and unbiased reviews online.
Steer Away From Multivitamins
Although they’re a great support to bodybuilders, using a multivitamin to increase testosterone is not a good idea. This kind of combination of vitamins and minerals won’t stimulate your body to produce more testosterone, and may actually limit your ability to maintain a proper level of free testosterone.
Instead, use a multivitamin alongside a testosterone booster, whether it is a supplement composed of a blend of ingredients, or a straight dosage of vitamins and minerals.
Try Zinc, Copper, and Magnesium
If you’d rather go the more traditional route in increasing testosterone by taking a stand-alone supplement, there are certain vitamins and minerals that are better than others.
Zinc, for example, is one of the best minerals for raising testosterone production. In citrate form, zinc is used to its highest capacity and is able to produce free testosterone while inhibiting globulin and other chemicals that seek to bind themselves to the hormone.
In fact, zinc’s ability to support free testosterone production is even noted on the website for the University of Washington.
Copper is another mineral you might want to check out—especially in conjunction with zinc. Taking copper over a period of weeks produces a protein called metallothionein, which holds copper and zinc within cells, allowing it to continue to stimulate testosterone production instead of becoming absorbed by the body.
Magnesium, meanwhile, decreases the chemical attraction—and thus the chemical bond—between globulin and testosterone. This effect was observed by the Universite de Franche-Comte, and magnesium is now an accepted method of inhibiting globulin and promoting higher free testosterone levels in the body.